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Describing language
Describing language

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3 Closed class words

This features a number of cartoon cats demonstrating some closed class words such as near, in, beside and behind.
Figure 3 Some examples of closed class words.

You’ve met some of the closed class words before. In Week 3, you were introduced to the auxiliary verbs – be, have and do – which help to make multiword verbs (they were waiting, we have seen, it doesn’t matter). You also considered modal auxiliary verbs (can, must, should, might etc), which are also a closed class. These words ‘help’ other verbs and can show that an action or process is (or is not) allowed (you mustn’t go there!), advisable (he should wear a warm coat), likely (it might rain later) or possible (they can’t swim).